A probable cause affidavit doesn't tell much of the story in the case of Kenneth C. Herrod, but it does shed some light into why police were called and a high-speed chase ensued on the night of Aug. 28. On that fateful night Herrod was the passenger in the car, and once the chase ended he was arrested. The driver, Michael Holmes of Newton, was shot and killed by a McPherson County Sheriff's Deputy.
Herrod is scheduled for a first appearance in court Oct. 24 on charges not only from that night, but a charge of failure to register as a sex offender. The charges coming from Aug. 28 include two felony burglaries, two misdemeanor thefts and a charge of aiding and abetting assault.
How those charges came about is documented in the probable cause affidavit, as is the start of the police chase that went from Newton northbound on I-135 and ended in McPherson County.
According to the affidavit, requested by The Kansan through an open records act filing and provided with the names and addresses of victims redacted, on the night of April 28 a woman was on the phone when she heard loud music coming from her front yard. When she looked outside, she saw a man inside her grandmother's 2014 Ford Taurus and second man across the street — inside her neighbor's car.
She confronted one of the two men, who the ran to a car. As he was leaving, the first suspect stopped so the second suspect could get into the car. The woman ran in front of the car to try and get the driver to stop, but the driver — Holmes — veered toward her as he drove away from the scene. According to the affidavit, the victim believed he was trying to hit her with the car.
Police were called. A short time after the burglaries, an officer located the car Holmes was driving. According to the affidavit, police attempted to make an initial traffic stop, Holmes then led officers on a high-speed chase into McPherson county.
According to police, speeds reached 150 miles per hour as the car, driven by Holmes, fled northbound.
After running over stop sticks, the car kept moving despite one of the front wheels losing a tire and running on a bare rim. The car came to rest in the median near mile marker 51 — about 20 miles from where the chase began. Neither Herrod or Holmes emerged for several minutes.
According to a Newton Police Department news release and later press conference, when Holmes emerged, he became combative. According to police, officers used other non-lethal options — including beanbag rounds, a Taser and a K-9 — to subdue Holmes, but those efforts were unsuccessful. When Holmes allegedly tried to kick the K-9 in the head, an officer attempted to physically subdue the driver, police said.
Holmes reportedly tried to take an officer's gun. According to police, at that point, the officer alerted other officers. A McPherson County Sheriff's deputy saw the driver trying to take the gun and "felt compelled to use lethal force to protect our officer's life," police said.
First aid was given and Holmes was transported to a hospital in Moundridge and later died. Herrod was taken into custody.
According to both the complaint filed by the county attorney's office and the probable cause affidavit, a car charger and compact discs were stolen from one vehicle while a vehicle owner's manual, insurance card and vehicle registration were missing from a second vehicle before the chase began.
Both Herrod and Holmes have previous criminal records. Holmes had plead no contest in an assault case about a week prior to the chase. He was awaiting sentencing. Herrod was convicted of rape as a minor and is facing charges of failure to register as an offender.
The Kansas Bureau of Investigation has taken the lead in the death investigation, as is standard for officer involved shootings in the state of Kansas.